USAFA Faculty Underwriting Attacks on USAFA?
Michael Weinstein and his self-founded MRFF have occasionally cried foul at the participation by US Air Force Academy members in groups sponsored by off-base organizations. The most recent was a small Bible study going by the name Cadets for Christ. Officers’ Christian Fellowship, Campus Crusade, and the entire SPIRE system have also been criticized.
Weinstein appears to have his own inroads to the Academy, however. He routinely publicizes information privy only to those at USAFA, and he cites “hundreds” of staff and cadets as party to his complaints. In fact, just yesterday Weinstein cited an “anonymous” USAFA faculty member to support his latest charge against USAFA. (Weinstein complained the MRFF wasn’t invited to the USAFA “religious respect” conference — while simultaneously calling that same conference “propaganda.”)
Some of the people he cites are not without influence. A few who have made themselves known after leaving USAFA:
Edith Disler, LtCol (Ret), recently left the USAFA English Department and joined Weinstein’s MRFF advisory board. Then-LtCol Disler made news when she invited a group of homosexual USAFA alumni to her cadet class without obtaining appropriate approval. After her retirement, she admitted she was homosexual.
Martin L. Cook was the Deputy Head of the USAFA Philosophy Department, essentially equivalent to a tenured Lieutenant Colonel (O-5), until last year. He now instructs at the prestigious Naval War College. A public donation was made to the MRFF in his name, and his public speeches to date on religion in the military seem to align with MRFF positions.
Darryl Wimberley, a former Air Force officer and USAFA graduate, was a fourth-class (freshman) English composition instructor for two semesters in 2008-2009. After receiving information from Weinstein, Wimberley recently wrote a widely-cited letter substantiating cadet accusations against the Academy. His letter carried the weight of a “former USAF Academy Professor” (notwithstanding a few factual errors).
Disler and Cook are both former faculty members, though they were present during some of the most controversial religious issues at USAFA, including vitriolic attacks by Weinstein on the Academy. Wimberley’s unusually short tenure and timing likely made him far less influential, though the public statements rely on his former faculty position to buttress his stature. While the Philosophy/English departments seem noticeably overrepresented, they are by no means the only professors or faculty who seem to have close ties with Weinstein — and simultaneously held significant influence over cadets.
It is not unusual for Weinstein to cite “anonymous” USAFA cadet and faculty sources, which sometimes creates the appearance of a more substantial issue. For example, Weinstein once released an “anonymous” letter from a USAFA faculty member who had already lodged a public complaint. The practice also allows a single person to lodge complaints on multiple issues; the veil of anonymity may obscure personal agendas and give a false sense of pervasiveness.
While Weinstein may complain of the influence of other groups over cadets and USAFA staff, it appears his own organization has had some success proselytizing with that same access.
If Weinstein is ever successful getting outside groups banned from the USAFA campus, his own cult-like group — made up of conspiracy theorists claiming Dick Cheney and James Dobson are leading US military Christians on a quest for global domination — would be included in that ban.